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Yisro’s “Big” Idea

Yisro’s “Big” Idea

The next day, Yisro witnessed Moshe’s grueling daily schedule. He observed how his son-in-law sat for hours upon hours, at the head of an endless line of people. They were all standing and waiting to ask him questions and settle their disputes.

“Hey, Reuven, I’m supposed to get 65% of the money we make at our store, not only 50%. After all, it was my idea to open the store.”

“But Shimon, I spend 12 hours a day in the store and you’re there for only 2 hours! I think we should split the profits evenly – 50/50!”

“Fair is fair, Reuven. That wasn’t the original deal. Now, I don’t care if we have to wait in line a whole day. Our wise leader Moshe will be the one who will judge the case.”

Indeed, Moshe was the one who settled disputes, answered questions, and patiently explained the laws of HaShem to his people. He was one busy man!

Yisro watched as Moshe listened, guided, ruled, and judged, day in and day out. He decided that something had to be done to make things easier for Moshe and for the Jewish people. It’s not easy to give advice to relatives, especially to a son-in-law, but in this situation Yisro knew that he had no choice.

“Moshe, my dear son-in-law,” Yisro implored, “judging an entire nation is much too much work for one man. If you go on like this, you will wear yourself out. Besides, it’s not right to keep people standing and waiting for hours in order to have a meeting with you.”

Yisro took a deep breath and continued. “Take my advice, Moshe. It’s called ‘delegating responsibility.’ Choose an entire staff of smart, G-d-fearing, and trustworthy people, and train them to be judges. Let them handle the small cases, and you take care of the big, important cases, you know… the ones that deal with a lot of money.”

Moshe decided to consult with HaShem before putting Yisro’s plan into action. HaShem approved the plan, but with one minor change. Yisro’s suggestion was to have Moshe judge all the big cases, namely, cases involving millions of Shekalim. HaShem changed this and decided that instead of Moshe judging big cases, he would judge the difficult cases, even if they only involved a few Shekalim.

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